Leek and Asparagus Risotto

My husband will tell you I am the most anxious when faced with an empty fridge.  Let me go grocery shopping, fill it up, and make a meal plan, and I suddenly feel like I can do life.  So the week before classes started, I changed my meal plan from a weekly meal plan based off the groceries I bought to a running categorical list based off the ingredients I already had on hand: 1. Meals I could throw together in about 10 minutes; 2. Meals I could make within 10-20 minutes; 3. Ready to go frozen meals; 4. Meals I could cook if I had some extra time and fresh ingredients.  I filled up a whole white board with my color-coded meal list, and suddenly felt like I could take on grad school.

Risotto is one of those meals that is homey and filling and warm and doesn’t take too long to pull together on one of those “extra time” days.  Add some fresh veggies, and your meal is set.


LEEK AND ASPARAGUS RISOTTO

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: medium, for time
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced, or grated with a medium ribbon grater
  • 1 asparagus bundle, trimmed and cut in thirds
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted, salted sesame seeds, as garnish
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or Parmeggiano-Reggiano cheese (or nutritional yeast flakes)
  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock

DIRECTIONS

  1. Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil, and saute the leeks with salt and pepper to taste on medium heat.  When the leeks are translucent, add the garlic and rice and saute 5-10 more minutes and lower the heat to low.
  2. Add 2-3 cups of vegetable stock, until the rice is just covered, and 1/4 cup of the parsley.  Allow to come to a boil, and let cook and reduce until nearly all the stock has reduced.  Add another 1-2 cups of stock and let cook and reduce.  Continue adding stock, one cup at a time, and reducing, until the rice has transformed into a creamy soft mixture, about 30-40 minutes.  When you add the final cup of stock, add the asparagus to gently cook.  Let the stock reduce just enough to be a thin, pudding-like mixture.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese or nutritional yeast flakes.  To serve, garnish with the rest of the parsley and the sesame seeds.

meatlessmain.com

Advertisements

Soup and Sandwich…Gourmet

When Fall hits our small part of the world, amazing deep grey clouds roll in, full of character, and sometimes full of rain.  We had two straight days of cold, cold rain last weekend.  The weekend my husband happened to be riding in Salt to Saint, a relay cycling race from Salt Lake City to St. George.  While my boys and I drove through 200+ miles of rain, my husband and his team rode through it on their bikes.  Good thing St. George is always sunny and warm.  We met the team at the finish line with homemade cinnamon rolls, hot chocolate, apple cider, and the good ol’ St. George sun.

Just in case your Fall is starting out cold and rainy, here’s a gourmet soup + sandwich combo you are going to just love: Creamy Corn and Potato Chowder + Tomato Asparagus Tart.

Sauté the veggies for bit, add stock and let simmer until the flavors have had time to shimmy and the veggies are perfectly soft, then add the half and half at the end until warm and creamy and heated through.

potato-corn-chowder

Our town’s Farmers Market runs through October, and we can still find a couple large heirloom tomatoes.  I love the vibrant colors of heirlooms–they look just like the leaves!  Mop up some of the tomato juice with paper towels while poking holes in the pastry.

tomato-asparagus-tart-1

tomato-asparagus-tart-2

Arrange the tomatoes and asparagus, bake, and sprinkle with a little love…aka…chopped walnuts and grated Parmigiano-Regiano cheese…

tomato-asparagus-tart-3

tomato-asparagus-tart-4

tomato-asparagus-tart-5


CORN AND POTATO CHOWDER

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 medium carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium celery rib, diced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 6 red potatoes, diced
  • 2 ears fresh corn, cut from the cob
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 3-4 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Coat the bottom of a large stockpot with olive oil and heat to medium.  Sauté the carrot, celery, onion, potatoes, and corn, with salt and pepper to taste, until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the stock and parsley, and reduce heat to low.  Allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are soft and tender, then add the half and half at the end, to get creamy and chowder-ish.  {Be careful to not let the soup come back to a simmer or boil, or the milk will curdle and your soup will separate.}

meatlessmain.com

TOMATO AND ASPARAGUS TART

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 store-bought puff pastry
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • grated Parmigiano-Regiano to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare a large un-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Unwrap the thawed but chilled pastry and lay on the parchment paper.  Don’t worry about rolling or cutting or spreading it at all, just unwrap and lay flat on the sheet pan.  Poke with holes, using a fork.
  3. Prepare the tomatoes–they are too juicy and will make the pastry mushy.  Prepare by slicing thinly and placing on a paper towel.  Gently press the tops of the tomatoes with another paper towel.  When ready, arrange the tomato sliced on the pastry, leaving a 1-2 inch border (this allows the pastry to puff; without the border, it won’t puff as nicely).  Top with the asparagus.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Before serving, sprinkle with chopped walnuts and freshly grated cheese.

meatlessmain.com

Poached Eggs on Toast

poached eggs on toast

My favorite breakfast when I was little was poached eggs on buttered toast.  Something about that salt-sprinkled cracked egg yolk running over crispy crunchy, sweet, buttered toast–warm, yummy, and comforting.  Whenever I hear those famous chef-folk talk about “umami”, it’s always a somewhat nebulous mystery to me–what do they mean by umami?!  Why do they use the word in the definition?!–that doesn’t help anyone understand what they are talking about when they are licking their lips after downing sea urchin, soy sauce, and other “ocean-y” tasting things.  Is umami like drinking the ocean, or what?!

And then I remembered the salty, homey, earthy taste of poached eggs on buttered toast–and I realized, in my opinion, that’s what umami is!  Not the ocean per se, but that otherwise indescribably melty, homey, hint of salt flavor.

And when you’re all grown up, it’s only right to put something green on that toast, right?!  Homemade toasted 10-grain whole wheat bread topped with smashed lime avocado, sautéed asparagus, fresh tomato slices, poached eggs, and grapefruit sections on the side.


POACHED EGGS WITH LIME AVOCADO AND FRESH VEGGIES ON TOAST

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

You can top your toast with any veggies you’d like–peas, broccoli, etc.; I had fresh tomatoes and asparagus on hand so that’s what I used.

INGREDIENTS

  • bread of choice for toasting
  • 1-2 avocados (1 will be sufficient for 2 slices of toast)
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 1 garden fresh tomato
  • 15-20 asparagus stalks
  • 1 egg per piece of toast

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring a pot of water to a slow simmer over medium heat.
  2. While water is heating, first, toast bread and butter slices.  Next, trim and sauté the asparagus stalks in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. The water should be ready for poaching the eggs at this point.  It’s true what they say–add a splash of vinegar and it will keep the egg white tighter while poaching.  Gently drop the eggs in the water and watch so they don’t over-poach, maybe 3-4 minutes total.
  4. While eggs are poaching, shuck the avocados and smash in a bowl with the lime juice, add salt and pepper to taste.  Slice fresh tomatoes.
  5. Layer toast: lime avocado, sautéed asparagus, one slice of tomato, poached egg, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

meatlessmain.com